Sunday, April 22, 2012

More thoughts on Affliction

Before I share more of my thoughts on affliction, I wanted to share something very exciting! Yesterday I decided to take a nap when Cara did and I woke up to Anna moving all around. This is not unusual---she can be a very active girl when she wants to. But this time I woke up to her actually bumping my hand! There have been some kicks where I was pretty sure I could have felt it with my hand if my hand had been there. But as soon as I place my hand where she is moving she stops! She's like, "Oh...pressure, warmth" and just stops what she is doing. However, this time my hand was already there so I felt her move! It was pretty exciting! A really good way to wake up from a nap. :) Now, to more thoughts on affliction. What did our pastor speak on in church today but suffering! It was SUPER encouraging! It is such a good thing that they record the sermons because I want to listen to this one a few more times! Basically, for this post I am just going to bullet point some thoughts and scriptures that were really encouraging to me today so that I can journal my thoughts and remember everything. :)

* When we suffer it brings out more of a desire for control and approval. Boy have I seen this in my life recently! Especially the need for control---wanting to somehow control what will happen to Anna. I have also wanted approval in the sense that I have not wanted people to feel sorry for us or feel badly for us. I don't feel sorry for myself or Anna so I am easily frustrated when I sense that in others----oh, how pride rears its ugly head, right?

 * We need to have THANKFULNESS in the midst of suffering. (I read in the forward of a book recently, Choosing Gratitude, where Joni Erickson Tada was actually THANKFUL for being a quadriplegic. She says this, "Maybe this wheelchair felt like a horrible tragedy in the beginning, but I give thanks in my wheelchair...I'm grateful for my quadriplegia. It's a bruising of a blessing. A gift wrapped in black. It's a shadowy companion that walks with me daily, pulling and pushing me into the arms of my Savior. And thats where the joy is.) Hmmmm, good words. If Anna is born with a disability of any kind none of us needs to feel sorry for her. It will be a gift from our Heavenly Father designed to point her and others to our desperate need of Him. She won't be missing out on anything that God hasn't designed that she have or experience. Feeling sorry for her will be saying that God somehow messed up. That is not an option. My God doesn't mess up.

 * Our suffering makes us dwell on our life in the resurrected Christ. Oh how my thoughts can lose their eternal perspective! But when I remember that JESUS is the resurrection and the LIFE. When I remember I was dead in my transgressions before Him. When I remember all the riches I have gained in being welcomed into the family of God. All of this makes the things of this world pale and become rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus. Praise God that He allows suffering! I think if not for hardships my heart really wouldn't understand the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. 

* We need to meditate on the results of suffering and NOT on the reasons for suffering. I have noticed that we so often try to figure out why we are going through a particular trial. I think I can sum that up really yield results that are for our eternal good, our eternal joy, our eternal peace. There is really no good accomplished or peace given when we try to figure out why. But there is such hope found in just simply accepting that a Loving Heavenly Father is guiding our lives, the peaks and the valleys, and we can trust Him implicitly.

 * Our suffering is being lead by Christ for a purpose---for the glory and honor of God. And we are most satisfied when God is most glorified!

 * In suffering we feel like we are losing a battle of sorts. But we have VICTORY in Jesus! He uses our suffering for our good. He uses it to glorify God. Thus, we can be thankful for our suffering.

 * We are the aroma of Christ in our sufferings. Suffering unifies us with Christ, the man of suffering. Just as the aroma of the old testament sacrifices were pleasing to God, and the aroma of Christ's final sacrifice was a pleasing aroma to God as a just payment for our sin, our suffering will be pleasing to God as He performs His good work in our lives through it. God also uses our sufferings to be the aroma of Him to a lost and dying world.
2 Cor. 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
* As we die to our flesh in our suffering, it links us to the resurrection of Christ as well! Christ is victorious over sin and death and suffering. All of it bows to accomplish His divine purpose! 

* Don't nourish unbelief in our suffering. Think on what is TRUE. *
2 Cor. 1:9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
*2 Cor. 12:9-10 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient in you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

 * This last verse was really encouraging to me in my quiet time yesterday. I am SO thankful that God ALWAYS has a purpose for what he does even when we don't understand it. I was reading the story of when Lazarus dies and this is what Jesus says when He hears the news:
John 11:4 But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God maybe glorified through it.
*And lastly, we sang the song, Shine Into Our Night in church today. I loved these words:
Jesus Christ, shine into our night, bind us to the cross, where we find life

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thankful for Affliction

So Josh and I are sitting in the waiting room waiting to get our last ultrasound of Anna done. I am already feeling all the butterflies and continually striving to set my mind on truth and not let it run wild. It is not the most warm and inviting waiting room. I am just wanting to get called back and get it over with. Josh and I are talking a little bit back and forth but we both notice the TV to the side of us. It was on the National Geographic Channel. Well, I am not sure who thought that would be a good channel for a waiting room but they were seriously wrong. All of the sudden they start a documentary of a military family living in an Asian country (perhaps Tiawan?). This family was living in a big city in this country. Well, they had been hearing reports of a murderer and rapist on the loose. This man was one of the most wanted men in the country. The daughters hear about him in school and the parents know of him, but they never really think that they will come in contact with him (who would?). Well, one lovely afternoon this murderer/rapist breaks into this family's home and holds them hostage. I know what you are thinking...."You heard all of this in the waiting room!?" Yup, in the waiting room. Lovely. Josh and I keep looking at each other saying, "I can't believe we are listening to this here!" I am assuming that the family makes it out of the situation ok because they are telling the story in the documentary---so that was comforting. But, one thing the Dad said really struck me. He was a military man---trained to kill, trained to defend. But, here, in this situation when his family's lives are at stake, he says that this is the first time in his whole life when he felt completely out of control of a situation. All his life before he had felt in control, but now he wasn't.

I didn't get to hear how the story ended (I really only heard the beginning). But what that Dad said really stuck out in my mind as I headed back for my ultrasound. That dad was facing the most horrible situation he could imagine. And he could do nothing. He was at the mercy of the murderer. Well, I wasn't really at the mercy of anyone (thankfully!) but I was and am in a situation that is completely out of my control. I cannot control what Anna's future (or my family's future) looks like. But there is a difference between this man and myself. He was not in any way ok with being out of control. But, I am. I don't find any comfort in me being in control. Actually, that terrifies me. I am completely positive that I would royally screw up EVERYTHING. I am more than content for God to be in absolute control. Or that is what I say in my head. But, what about when things DON'T go as we want them to? You loose your job. You are single and want to be married. You are married and your marriage is struggling. You have children and they are driving you crazy or you don't have children and desperately want them. Someone you know someone is sick. Someone you love is dying. You name it and the blank can be filled. It is most likely what you worry over. What causes you anxiety. What causes you to feel like you HAVE to do or say something. Those are the times that we are saying that God isn't doing a good enough job. We have to do something ourselves...even if it is just to worry. We are saying with our thoughts and actions that we can't trust God in this. We need to be in control for everything to turn out ok. But, as we know, all that is sin. To think even for a millisecond that we don't trust God and that we need to be in control must cut our Lord so deeply. But we do it all the time.

I remember as a child (an older child) thinking, "Why can't my life just be easy? Why would hard things have to happen? I just want to grow up, get married, have children and a nice, cute little home. Is that all bad?" I think that is such an American way of thinking because we are immersed with the teaching that life should be easy and we should have everything we want. But, that is not what the Bible teaches. Jesus' life wasn't easy and he didn't go after everything this world has to offer. His life was the opposite. Slowly, over time, I have grown to understand that even when things don't go as I would like them to it is so much better for God to be in control. Susannah Spurgeon says this:
Ah! our eyes are so dimmed by earth's fogs and shadows that we cannot see clearly enough to distinguish good from evil and if left to ourselves might embrace a curse rather than a blessing. Poor blind mortals that we are, it is well for us that our Master should choose our trials for us even though to our imperfect vision he seems sometimes to have appointed a hard thing. Ill that God blesses turns to good, while unblest good is ill, and all is right that seems most wrong, if it be his sweet will.

And, Susannah's very wise husband, Charles Spurgeon says this:
A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny. The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have is so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God's way. Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the Lord steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Saviour, our Comforter...It is my freest choice to let him choose. As a free agent, I elect that he should have absolute sway.

Amen! I could not say it better even if I wanted to! And this is what God has been working in my heart. As I have said before in a previous post, I wouldn't choose Anna's future for her even if given the choice...even if I could choose for her to be perfectly healthy. Why? Because, I KNOW that God's way is better than my own. His thoughts are higher than my own. I firmly believe that if given complete control I would mess up all His beautiful redemptive plans and miss out on incredible blessings.

You see, I have been learning lately that God views sufferings and hardships MUCH differently than I do. MUCH differently than our sinful nature wants us to see them. We see them as painful (which they are), an inconvenience, a tragedy (and some are), something to be pitied (oh! how I have hated pity recently!). We see it as something to be gotten out of at any cost. But that is NOT how our Lord views suffering. I don't think we should ever pretend to understand the mind of God---we can't because we are mortal. But, the fact remains that God uses and designs our sufferings and hardships for our GOOD. Even the smallest hardship we face throughout our day is no accident. We run out of gas or burn dinner---I believe God designs even those things to do us good. If we yield ourselves to His purposes and His good Word, He will use these things to root out all of the sin that is the root of our unhappiness and develop in us more of Himself who is the root of all our joy.

One thing has become very clear to me in the past few weeks. God CHOSE suffering to be the means of my redemption. He CHOSE suffering to be the way to bring me to Himself. And the suffering that He experienced was like none that I could ever face. His own Son suffered the Father's full wrath---He suffered the Father turning His face away and He was left utterly alone. And because of that, I never will be. I will never be alone. I am welcomed as a child and will always have access to the Father because of His Son's sufferings. If God allowed His own Son to suffer to achieve for Him much glory and victory and to reap a harvest of saints, why should I be surprised if He designs suffering to be allowed into my life. Should I not think of it as the loving means of a Heavenly Father to draw me more and more to himself---to conform me more in to His image---to bring me eternal and lasting joy that goes far beyond what this world has to offer? Yes, I should be viewing suffering differently. My prayer is that my heart would look like a child to my loving Heavenly Father and say will full faith, "I trust you. Do with my life as you will." I will agree with David in Psalm 119:
(vs. 67-69) Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. (vs. 71-72) It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law if your mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (vs. 75) I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Yes, I will trust God through my sufferings and hardships. I will be thankful for affliction. If it is the means that breaks this hardened heart and awakens me to the joys of my Savior, then yes. I will be thankful for affliction.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Looking for the Truth

Recently it has been more of a fight. More of a fight to BELIEVE what God says is true. We all have times or seasons in our lives where believing the Gospel is not easy because our feelings don't match up---we don't FEEL it is true. Well, this is one of those times for me. But even in the midst of such a difficult time, I am thankful for it. Scripture says that we are in a FIGHT of faith. Faith is a gift of God but it takes EFFORT to focus on what is true--it doesn't come natural all the time (some times a lot of the time). That is why the Bible is filled with action words, "set you mind", "stay alert", "be careful." And by, and only by, the grace of the Holy Spirit I am setting my mind on Hope and what is TRUE. It is hard and messy, but it is GOOD. This is one of those times when I really FEEL the refinement---I really FEEL the fire. But there is an eternal weight of glory on the other side. And some how, deep down, I KNOW that nothing this life or world has to offer is any good---it is complete rubbish. It will let me down and bring continual emptiness. It is ONLY Jesus that brings peace and hope and life and JOY.

So what was the catalyst for this struggle to believe what is True? Specifically, what was the catalyst for this fight to believe that God is LOVING and WISE and JUST? Strangely, it was not Anna having curved limbs. It was not the thought of her being disabled. It was not even the thought of her dying. It was the thought of her dying and not going to HEAVEN. Doubting infant salvation has never really been an issue for me. I pondered it a little with others, but when my dearest friend lost her little one suddenly there was no doubt. I took such hope in the words our Pastor spoke at her daughter's funeral (our Pastor is a wise man who knows and loves God's Word and has studied it in depth). So, why was I now starting to question it? I am not sure where the question came from (myself, the enemy, the Lord to bring me through a time or painful searching)? But suddenly I was thinking on the fact that God's Word isn’t SPECIFIC about this issue. It isn't written in bold letters that all infants and severely mentally handicapped will go to heaven. I know I have heard my whole life that babies go to heaven. But all of the sudden I needed truth to cling to. I couldn't just lean on sentimentality, which would reason that God wouldn't send sweet little babies to hell. If I know my Bible I know that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Because we are all descendants of Adam we are ALL born into a sin nature. We are ALL without excuse. We are all enemies of God before He awakens our hearts to salvation and grants us faith and repentance. So where to little ones fit in here? What do we believe for those who have not the ability to understand that they are sinners and in need of God's grace? I WANTED to believe that God's grace covers them but all the sudden my heart was in a swirl of doubt and confusion. All of the sudden, my reasoning went, "if God won't save my baby then how can I believe that He is loving and just and wise?" All of the truths I had been clinging to---the rocks on which I were standing---seemed to be crumbling from under me. All I felt was the worst pain I can imagine when I thought of my infant baby being sent to an eternity without Jesus. And it really wasn't because I want to see her in heaven. I DO---no matter how long she lives on this earth! But, that is not why I look forward to going to heaven. None of us can look forward to going to heaven just to see loved ones who have gone before us. All of us have to YEARN for heaven because that is where JESUS is and He is our EVERYTHING. I really couldn't bear the thought of Anna spending an eternity without JESUS. I want for her (and Cara) to know the sweetness and wholeness and forgiveness found only in our Savior. So on the path of searching I went. I was desperate for answers. For solid truth to cling to that went beyond feelings and emotions.

Well God, who is a gracious and loving Father (even when I don't believe it), was so merciful to me. Instead of just wallowing in my pain and confusion or trying to ignore it, He gave me the grace to search for answers. So I went to some men of the faith whom I believe to know God's Word and stick to it even when the Words aren't easy. Remember, I wasn't looking for someone to just pacify my longing for Anna to go to heaven if she were to die as an infant. I wanted the TRUTH no matter what it was. Well, while no one can say for sure, I did find some firm ground to stand on. There are passages in Scripture that give evidence that God (in ways we can't understand) gives special grace to the young and severely mentally handicapped. There are those in scripture who lost their babies and seemed to believe that they were with the Lord (David being one of them). But the hardest place that God has brought me to through this searching is this: I CANNOT doubt who God says He is just because He is not perfectly clear on an issue that I would wish Him to be. I have been reading through John. Jesus was wise. Jesus said hard things. Jesus was about a greater purpose that no one really understood while He was on this earth. Jesus was just. And Jesus was LOVING. He was FORGIVING. He was MERCIFUL. And Jesus submitted to His Father's will not matter how painful and costly---He knew the reward. Jesus let Lazarus die because He knew His Father had greater plans through is death---to show His POWER OVER death. Yet, Jesus WEPT over Lazarus. Jesus also didn't turn any of the little children away. He wasn't too busy for them or above them to take time with them. He WELCOMED them. And Jesus is the exact imprint of our Heavenly Father. Yes, all of scripture points to the fact that God is indeed a LOVING, WISE, JUST God. No matter how unclear He may or may not be. No matter how much at times I may not like was He chooses or what He says. He is God and has shown me that I can NEVER doubt His Love, His CHOICES, or His WSIDOM. I can trust Him with Anna’s eternity. I may not have all the concrete answers I would like, but I CAN trust Him. And while my heart still may not like that at times. That doesn't matter. I CHOOSE to trust Him and rest in Jesus's loving embrace. His arms are big enough for me and Anna. :)

But, I did want to share with you some of the findings in my searches (which will, yes, make a super long post even longer). But, I am doing this for anyone who may like to know the answers I found. There is so much good stuff out there. This is just a sampling. 3 men I really respect are John Piper, Albert Mohler, and my beloved Charles Spurgeon. Not knowing what any of these men would have to say on the topic, I began my quest. I found all three of these men to believe that God does save infants. They don't believe just because they are basing it on emotions. They base it on truth from God's Word. I am actually copying below Al Mohler's blog post. I, personally, found it most helpful. There are also two links---one to a sermon to read by C. H. Spurgeon (a very impassioned sermon I might add) and also a blog post on Piper's blog by Matt Perman. Hope they are helpful to any who may read this blog post.

Piper's blog:

Spurgeon's sermon:

Mohler's blog (and copied below for you to read):

The Salvation of the ‘Little Ones’: Do Infants who Die Go to Heaven?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and Daniel L. Akin

The death of an infant or young child is profoundly heartbreaking – perhaps the greatest grief a parent is called to bear. For Christian parents, there is the sure knowledge that our sovereign and merciful God is in control, but there is also a pressing question: Is our baby in heaven?

This is a natural and unavoidable question, calling for our most careful and faithful biblical study and theological reflection. The unspeakable anguish of a parent’s heart demands our honest and humble searching of the Scriptures.

Mere sentimentalism ignores the Bible’s teaching which bears on the issue. We have no right to establish doctrine on the basis of what we hope may be true. We must draw our answers from what the Bible reveals to be true.

Universalism is an unbiblical heresy. The Bible clearly teaches that we are born in sin and that God will not tolerate sinners. God has made one absolute and definitive provision for our salvation through the substitutionary atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation comes to those who believe on His name and confess him as Savior. The Bible teaches a dual destiny for the human race. The redeemed – those who are in Christ – will be raised to eternal life with the Father in Heaven. Those who have not believed in Christ and confessed Him as Lord will suffer eternal punishment in the fires of Hell. Universalism is a dangerous and unbiblical teaching. It offers a false promise and denies the Gospel.

The Bible reveals that we are born marked by original sin, and thus we cannot claim that infants are born in a state of innocence. Any biblical answer to the question of infant salvation must start from the understanding that infants are born with a sin nature.

The shifting of the focus to election actually avoids answering the question. We must do better, and look more closely at the issues at stake.

Throughout the centuries, the church has offered several different answers to this question. In the early church, Ambrose believed that baptized infants went to heaven, while unbaptized infants did not, though they received immunity from the pains of hell. His first error was believing in infant baptism, and thus in baptismal regeneration. Baptism does not save, and it is reserved for believers – not for infants. His second error was his indulgence in speculation. Scripture does not teach such a half-way position which denies infants admission to heaven, but saves them from the peril of hell. Augustine, the great theologian of the fourth century, basically agreed with Ambrose, and shared his understanding of infant baptism.

Others have taught that infants will have an opportunity to come to Christ after death. This position was held by Gregory of Nyssa, and is growing among many contemporary theologians, who claim that all, regardless of age, will have a post-mortem opportunity to confess Christ as Savior. The problem with this position is that Scripture teaches no such post-mortem opportunity. It is a figment of a theologian’s imagination, and must be rejected.

Those who divide infants into the elect and non-elect seek to affirm the clear and undeniable doctrine of divine election. The Bible teaches that God elects persons to salvation from eternity, and that our salvation is all of grace. At first glance, this position appears impregnable in relation to the issue of infant salvation – a simple statement of the obvious. A second glance, however, reveals a significant evasion. What if all who die in infancy are among the elect? Do we have a biblical basis for believing that all persons who die in infancy are among the elect?

We believe that Scripture does indeed teach that all persons who die in infancy are among the elect. This must not be based only in our hope that it is true, but in a careful reading of the Bible. We start with the biblical affirmations we have noted already. First, the Bible reveals that we are “brought forth in iniquity,”(1) and thus bear the stain of original sin from the moment of our conception. Thus, we face squarely the sin problem. Second, we acknowledge that God is absolutely sovereign in salvation. We do not deserve salvation, and can do nothing to earn our salvation, and thus it is all of grace. Further we understand that our salvation is established by God’s election of sinners to salvation through Christ. Third, we affirm that Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the sole and sufficient Savior, and that salvation comes only on the basis of His blood atonement. Fourth, we affirm that the Bible teaches a dual eternal destiny – the redeemed to Heaven, the unredeemed to Hell.

What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed “in the body.”(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer “according to what he has done,”(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam’s sin. We will answer for our own. But what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body? We believe not.

One biblical text is particularly helpful at this point. After the children of Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness, God sentenced that generation to die in the wilderness after forty years of wandering. “Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers.”(4) But this was not all. God specifically exempted young children and infants from this sentence, and even explained why He did so: “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.”(5) The key issue here is that God specifically exempted from the judgment those who “have no knowledge of good or evil” because of their age. These “little ones” would inherit the Promised Land, and would not be judged on the basis of their fathers’ sins.

We believe that this passage bears directly on the issue of infant salvation, and that the accomplished work of Christ has removed the stain of original sin from those who die in infancy. Knowing neither good nor evil, these young children are incapable of committing sins in the body – are not yet moral agents – and die secure in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

John Newton, the great minister who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace was certain of this truth. He wrote to close friends who had lost a young child: “I hope you are both well reconciled to the death of your child. I cannot be sorry for the death of infants. How many storms do they escape! Nor can I doubt, in my private judgment, that they are included in the election of grace.”(6) The great Princeton theologians Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield held the same position.

One of the most eloquent and powerful expressions of this understanding of infant salvation came from the heart of Charles Spurgeon. Preaching to his own congregation, Spurgeon consoled grieving par
ents: “Now, let every mother and father here present know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God hath taken it away from you in its infant days.”(7) Spurgeon turned this conviction into an evangelistic call. “Many of you are parents who have children in heaven. Is it not a desirable thing that you should go there, too? He continued: “Mother, unconverted mother, from the battlements of heaven your child beckons you to Paradise. Father, ungodly, impenitent father, the little eyes that once looked joyously on you, look down upon you now, and the lips which scarcely learned to call you father, ere they were sealed by the silence of death, may be heard as with a still small voice, saying to you this morning, ‘Father, must we be forever divided by the great gulf which no man can pass?’ Doth not nature itself put a sort of longing in your soul that you may be bound in the bundle of life with your own children?”

Jesus instructed his disciples that they should “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”(8) We believe that our Lord graciously and freely received all those who die in infancy – not on the basis of their innocence or worthiness – but by his grace, made theirs through the atonement He purchased on the cross.

When we look into the grave of one of these little ones, we do not place our hope and trust in the false promises of an unbiblical theology, in the instability of sentimentalism, in the cold analysis of human logic, nor in the cowardly refuge of ambiguity.

We place our faith in Christ, and trust Him to be faithful to his Word. We claim the promises of the Scriptures and the assurance of the grace of our Lord. We know that heaven will be filled with those who never grew to maturity on earth, but in heaven will greet us completed in Christ. Let us resolve by grace to meet them there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Update on baby Anna

Hello Everyone!
Thank you so very much for your prayers today. I really believe that the Lord went before us. First, we had a different ultrasound tech which can make a big difference in the over all experience. This ultrasound tech was WONDERFUL! She was so kind and encouraging! She took measurements of Anna today and Anna's head, chest, and abdomen all measure normal---right where she should be. This is GREAT news. The tech said she weighs 13 sweet to know. Also, this tech also said that Anna has a beautiful heart (the one before said the same thing). I know they are saying that her heart is functioning beautifully but I am praying for a beautiful heart for Anna that goes BEYOND functioning beautifully---one that will love Jesus and be so conformed to His image that it is made so beautiful. The tech also said that her lungs looked great and growing well. Anna has two kidneys that are working properly as well. All my fluid levels were good and healthy.

Her bones also did not look as bowed to me today! Perhaps God is healing her! In fact, one of the bones in her arms measured straight. The others were only slightly bowed. The femur bones are still the most curved, but they didn't look as bowed as before---certainly not L shaped! Also, all her limbs except the femurs are measuring in normal range for a baby 21+ weeks. And the femurs are very close to normal range. Her overall growth is in the 25 percentile which really isn't that bad at all. This ultrasound tech was also really kind to point out that Josh and I are short people. She didn't think that it could be that unusual for Anna to be small because of that. She also said that with the bowing that she saw in the limbs, Anna could be born and us not even be able to notice it in her. Apparently she has been doing ultrasounds since the early 90's, so she has seen a lot. She said that she saw nothing in Anna that was overly concerning. And that she saw nothing that pointed to things being lethal as of right now. All very encouraging.

However, the doctor was not really encouraging at all. The one positive thing she said was that in many dwarf children you will see a more curving of the forehead---it protrudes more. But, she did not see that in Anna. However, she really just basically said that because we won't do the amniocentesis she couldn't help us. And that was pretty much it. But, that is ok. :) Josh did say to her that he thought Anna's bones didn't look as bowed as last time so she looked at the previous ultrasound pics and did acknowledge that didn't look as bowed. But, then she followed it up quickly with Anna still is not normal. But, you know, not normal is ok. God is knitting her together perfectly and I am ok with that!

One thing that keeps standing out in my mind today is that I cannot put my hope in any test, any ultrasound, any ultrasound tech, or any doctor. Any of these can be right or wrong about anything. Only God truly knows the details of Anna and what is in store for her. God IS working in and through Anna's life. He WILL accomplish all His purposes and they are good. I don't always feel like trusting Him through all of this. But I know that I cannot go on my feelings. I will choose to cling to the Word of God and what it says. And God's Word says that I am not to be anxious about ANYTHING, that my God is in sovereign control, and that His love is steadfast.

Please keep praying for us and Anna. Pray for our faith--that we will cling to what is true and allow Him to mold us more into His image---no matter how painful the process. And PLEASE keep praying for Anna. That even from the womb God would be drawing her to Himself. That God would heal her and protect her. That her life would continually point others to the Hope we have in Jesus.

Thank you all!